MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012
Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
Good morning guys. We’ve had a good six, seven days here at Minnesota State-Mankato, and today is no different. Walkthrough went well. We really are looking forward to this afternoon’s practice. We’ll once again hit a few different situations. The scrimmage that we had Saturday night was really good for us. We’re ready to put some things on tape that we can coach off of, that we hope will help us to improve. The support that we got from our fans, you can’t say enough about it. Now we’ve got to be able to carry a little bit of that momentum through this week. It’s a short week as we’re preparing for our first scrimmage game against an opponent. But the only downside of that scrimmage was what happened with Greg Childs. What happened with his injury was tough. The fact that he ruptured both patella tendons and he’s going to have to have surgery on both knees, I mean that’s a hard one. We’re actually going to have that surgery today. So, we don’t know what the long-term prognosis is, but we are all hoping for the best. But our players, it was hard for them, obviously it is hard for Greg and his family. We’re all pulling for him through this situation. And then of course just yesterday we got the sad news regarding Garrett Reid, Andy Reid’s son. Received a text this morning from Andy, and just trying to encourage him, he and his family, through this situation. For sure Rick Spielman will be at the funeral to represent our ball club. If I’m able to get a flight, I’m going to try to do the same based on the time of the service. A difficult time for the Reid family, our organization, we have them in our thoughts and in our prayers. We’re all hoping for the best and they deal with a very difficult situation. Garrett was a great kid. I got a chance to know him just as a little boy, growing up and being around our team and being around our facility. Just a hard thing to experience. We are looking forward to this afternoon and getting back and practicing some football.
Q: Did Childs have any ligament damage in addition to his patella tendons?
A: No, what I was told was ruptured patella tendon and nothing else.
Q: Have you spoken to him?
A: I have.
Q: What was his demeanor?
A: At the time it was after the scrimmage and we were sitting down in a side room. He was distraught as you would expect, I mean it’s hard, but he really had a frame of mind, because he had faced adversity before, where he really feels he’s going to be able to bounce back from this. He is going to work extremely hard and get back to play again. That was his attitude and those were the words he shared with me. ‘Coach I’ll be back, I’m going to do just like I did before. I’m going to work as hard as I can, I’ll be back out here to help the Vikings.’ That is a great attitude under the circumstances, a great attitude.
Q: What sort of timeline do you think is realistic for him?
A: It’s hard to say. Just in talking with Eric Sugarman, our head athletic trainer, they only know of two cases, this being the second. One other case before this where a player ruptured both patella tendons on the same play and that was Wendell Davis a number of years ago, at Vet Stadium, on that turf. So, things are different today time-wise, and we are hoping that it won’t be as long as it took Wendell to get back on the field, but it’s are for me to say at this point until after they have the surgery.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about rehabbing without having a good leg to stand on?
A: Well he’s got a tough road ahead of him, no question about it. I mean, you’re talking about both knees. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but part of what helps a guy make it back if he’s able to make it back from an injury like that is approaching your rehab with the right attitude, right focus. You know some of the advances that have been made medically sometimes help as well, but your attitude and your focus in this situation is probably what is going to get you through some dark days. There are going to be some tough days ahead for him. It’s going to be tough.
Q: Has he been off his feet the last couple days?
A: Yeah, he’s not moving around a whole lot. Today being the surgery he won’t be moving around a whole lot after this either for a few days.
Q: What have you seen from Stephen Burton and Devin Aromashodu to capitalize on?
A: Stephen is coming along. He missed those early days with his toe, but we’re seeing some progress. There’s still some things based on what we saw in the scrimmage on Saturday night that he needs to continue to work on. But, he’s coming along, he’s at a good pace for us. He showed some things in the OTA’s. He showed some things in the limited time he got a season ago that he has the potential to be a factor in our offense. We’re hoping that he’ll keep coming, both on special teams as well as wide receiver. He’s shown some kick return ability and he showed the ability to make the hard catch. With Devin, I think he’s much, much improved. One of the things we wanted to see out of Devin was improved route running and showing that he can make those hard catches on a consistent basis. With his length and his speed we like some of the things he’s able to do, and he’s beginning to show that more and more at practice. For Michael (Jenkins) it’s a wonderful opportunity, he’s the veteran of the group and we rely a lot on his experience. He and Christian had developed a rapport prior to his injury a season ago, and we are going to need that presence along with his size, to make that difficult catch even when he’s covered. So we have to see him come along physically and these preseason games will be a part of that.
Q: Besides bringing back A.J. Love for depth, are you looking outside the building for anything else for that position?
A: We’ll definitely be scouring the waiver wires and taking a look at what’s out there and seeing how we can upgrade our team. Not saying that we’re going to do anything, but we’ll definitely be looking.
Q: How does Everson Griffen look as far as the transition?
A: He’s been kind of sporadic. He’s had some good moments and some other moments where we’d like him to come a little faster. We’re going to give him a little time and see how he does throughout this week and even in the San Francisco game. Then we’ll sit down and evaluate things after the game. But, he’s showing sparks at time that he can get this done at the linebacker position. We’re also keeping him in our third down package as you guys have seen in practice where we’ll have him rushing as well. He’s shown that he has a chance at the linebacker position so we’ll continue to monitor this week and then we’ll sit down and talk about it after the San Francisco game.
Q: How is Toby at running back and how many carries will we see him get on Friday?
A: We’ll get him in there some, but we’re not going to hand it over to him a lot, not in the preseason. He’ll have limited reps for sure.
Q: How’s Toby looking?
A: He’s been looking well. He’s practicing well, has great confidence in what we’re doing, what we’re asking of him. He doesn’t seem like a guy who is ready to settle for being a backup running back, which is a good thing. He’s preparing himself as if he is going to have to start against Jacksonville, which is the way we want to see it happen. He’s practicing the right way, so we’ll see how it goes.
Q: Have you seen enough from Brandon Fusco to make him the number one guy?
A: We’re going to let Chris (DeGeare) get some reps over there along with letting Joe Berger get some reps as well. We’re not quite ready to say that Brandon is the guy opening up against Jacksonville; we want to see him in some game situations against other teams in the preseason and then make a declaration as we go. We’ll continue to have some competition at that position.
Q: Do you have a time frame for Geoff Schwartz?
A: We’ll know after the surgery. It could be anywhere from four weeks to eight to 10 weeks, we won’t know anything until after the surgery.
Q: When is surgery?
A: It’s scheduled for tomorrow.
Q: Is the PUP list a good option for him?
A: Potentially, we’ll see what happens once we find out some information from the surgery.
Q: Jerome Simpson is out for three games, how limited are you going to be in the passing game?
A: Well some of it depends on how well and how improved Devin is, along with some of the guys we have at the receiver position. But we still have Percy, it’s just a matter of solidifying that other guy outside. We think Jarius has a chance to potentially help us as well, we don’t want to exclude him. We still think we have some options on our current roster without having to just bring a guy in for the sake of bringing a guy in. We want to bring someone who can upgrade the position and if that’s the case then we’ll be better. But we don’t want to just say let’s bring in another body.
Q: Are you short at halfback?
A: Depending on if Jordan (Todman) is not able to go, we don’t know that yet, but we still want to be able to see Lex (Hilliard) run, we still want to be there to take a look at Derrick (Coleman), we have some options. We want to see Matt Asiata take some carries, D’Imperio, he’s a full back. We’d like to have Jordan out there but we’ll see.
Q: Who is looking strong for blocking?
A: We like some of the things that Jerome Felton has done in practice. D’Imperio has improved from a season ago at the fullback position. We want to find out if Matt Asiata can perform as a fullback and we’re also moving some of our tight ends around. We’re taking a look at Rhett Ellison as well, seeing what he can do as a lead blocker. We’re doing some different things to try to solidify that position. Adrian does a great job when he has a lead blocker so we want to make sure we get the right guy in that role and we have some candidates.
Q: Do you expect anything with Adrian to change this week?
A: I don’t anticipate us doing anything differently than we did a week ago with him. We’ll continue to go through this process and then evaluate it after the San Francisco game. The plan right now is to let him continue to go through the work that he’s going through with our athletic trainer and our strength coach.
Q: Did DeMarcus Love end up having a scope done or what is his prognosis?
A: We think we may have DeMarcus back in another week or two. No surgery needed, just the matter of getting the strength back and he’s coming along from what I’ve been told. We’ll see where he’s at after this ball game; we may have him back next week.
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012
Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer
Q: What is your scouting report on Larry Dean?
A: Anytime you get a young college free agent like he was as a rookie last year, everything is new, especially coming from a smaller school like Larry did. He picked things up so quickly I knew we had somebody special there. There is always a big improvement from year one to year two that is probably the biggest year of improvement, because he knows now, kind of gets the pro game, he knows how to prepare, he understands how to study tape, he understands what I want now that I have been around him over a year. He has really matured, and I love the way he developed into a very good special teams and I know he is developing very well as a linebacker as well. I’m excited for Larry and I’m excited for us about his development.
Q: What do you look for in special teams guys and what do you ask them to show you?
A: I ask them to show me the fundamentals and techniques that we ask, that they are not making the same mistakes over and over again. I talk about don’t be an error repeater, don’t be the guy that makes the same mistake over and over again, because then you get replaced. I ask them to give great effort in practice, in games obviously, great attentiveness in meetings so they are paying attention, they are understanding the mistakes that they made so they don’t make the same mistakes again. They are very simple and at the end of the day the big one is production. Are you the guy that makes plays when the plays are there to be made? Are you the guy that makes the block when you’re going against a good football player? You have got to execute that block so our return can get extra yards. It’s production at the end of the day, but it’s all of the foundation, the bases below that is the fundamentals, techniques and effort.
Q: Are you pleasantly surprised with Blair Walsh?
A: I think that if you asked me that in the spring I would say I would be pleasantly surprised. He was so good in the spring, I’m not surprised by it. I kind of expected it and so did he, not in an arrogant way, but in a very confident manner. He is striking the ball well, like I have said several times in the spring and here at training camp that his chemistry with Cullen (Loeffler) and Chris (Kluwe) is very good, it’s been excellent. I’m excited again about his continued development. The one that kept me up Saturday was the one that he missed. You go back and watch the tape and figure out why he missed it and you move on, because he wants to be great in that scenario, but like anything else it’s a process and he’s going to continue to learn and get better.
Q: Did he take a divot on the one that he missed?
A: No, he was off a little bit with his technique, with his left foot he kind of pushed the ball instead of following through towards his target, but he still struck it good. He is not shanking any balls right now, he’s hitting them solid and when he does miss one there is something small that we can correct that will only make him better.
Q: Are the timing adjustments second nature to him yet?
A: Probably not second nature quite yet, because it’s something that I have to keep reminding him of, but it’s getting better. It’s a lot better than it was in the spring, but he is a guy that feels very confident, and he is confident in our snapper and our holder, so he likes to go a little bit quicker. I’m constantly telling him to slow down, but in a positive way. He’s not overly fast like he was in college. He is getting to the point where even in practice when we are working away from everybody else he has really slowed down, maybe 1.31 (seconds), 1.34 (seconds) with his get off time. When he gets with the team, the adrenaline is flowing he gets excited, everybody is watching, you guys are writing about every kick he attempts he might go a little bit too fast because he is fired up, but he doing a great job controlling that and he has come a long ways since the spring.
Q: When the wind isn’t a factor what is his range right now?
A: I’m not going to say that, I won’t put him under that kind of pressure.
Q: With only one kicker in camp are there any concerns with kickoffs and him being the last line of defense?
A: Yeah, if we had to, if something happened to him in the preseason I have had punters fill in for kickers, you don’t want to do that but in a preseason game you can get away with it. He is a pretty good athlete and hopefully he will stay out of the way when he has to. I’m going to ask him to make a tackle in the preseason if it is there to be made. That is something that he has got to go through and prepare for just like any other cover guy when he covers on a kickoff, obviously he has got to go down and make a play.
Q: What does Friday mean to you from an evaluation standpoint?
A: Can they respond when they are going against a good football player from the other team, because that guy across from them is trying to make the team just like our guy is trying to make our team. Can he rely on the fundamentals, techniques, and the things that he has been taught in camp and combine that with his God given ability to beat the other guy. That is what I’m looking for, the effort, the technique, the production and the same type of things we talked about earlier. That’s what I’m looking for every rep of every preseason game and we are obviously going to be scrutinizing every single play. Chris (White), my assistant and I are going to look at everything at every angle. We’ll take a long time to grade that tape because there is going to be a lot of players, not that we go through in the regular season, but there is so many more guys now and we want to make sure we evaluate everybody the same way. So we can keep the right 53.
Q: How do you decide who makes the team in terms of the punt returner?
A: Yeah, that’s hard. We are going to make sure that we use the right guys and the guys that we think have the best chance. If a guy is on the bubble, will he make it because he is a good punt returner or kickoff returner? That will be key Friday night. Hopefully we can make them punt a few times and we’ll go out there and get some reps for our guys. That’s a great question because at the end of the day you have to make sure you are training the right guys in a game setting.
Q: What guys have you seen, what have they done?
A: I think that Marcus (Sherels) is a guy that I have been around now, and has done a great job with ball possession last year. He’s got to be the No. 1 guy at this point. Jarius Wright will get an opportunity. Bryan Walters has gotten better and better every day. I’d love to see Josh Robinson return one. I’m not sure about this week because of the nature of his health right now but I think he has come along just fine. He looks much better, so we’ll have to wait and see on him.
Q: Are you planning to give Sherels and Harvin reps in preseason?
A: No, I think that Percy has earned the right not to take one in the preseason. Marcus and some of the other guys are going to have to prove it and go out there and earn the job.
Q: Do you know already who you are going to have returning on Friday?
A: For punt return Marcus, Jarius, Bryan and maybe Josh, depending on his health. Kickoff return probably the same guys and maybe Stephen Burton. I’d love to see him take a rep.
Q: Who can gain the most from the Childs injury?
A: I hate to put it that way because Greg has really come a long way. I know the offense was getting excited about him and I was getting really excited about him. He played several reps on Saturday night. I was really fired up about where he’d come from because he didn’t practice in the spring with us obviously because of his injury. I don’t know. I think any of the wideouts that were behind him stand to move up on the depth chart but I want to go on the record and say that I feel so bad for that kid because he had come along and he is a great young man.